Females can normally shed about 100-150 hairs a day, and you should be concerned if you’re shedding more than 250 hairs a day, consecutively, or if your ponytail is noticeably thinner. Acute stress, illness, medications, and crash dieting can trigger shedding, but if the shedding doesn’t stop and you don’t notice much regrowth, then it’s time to see your dermatologist.
Female-pattern hair loss usually shows up as thinning along the temples and crown – the hair shafts get skinnier as the follicles shrink and finally disappear. This occurs as our follicles sense an excess testosterone metabolite with hormone shifting as we age. This will be more prominent in women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, but plenty of patients who suffer from androgenetic alopecia without any other hormonal abnormalities.
Besides hormones, the most common culprits that play a role in chronic hair loss are thyroid disorders, low iron stores, and low vitamin D. Aim for the high normal range for optimal hair metabolism. Aside from prescription medications for thyroid deficiencies, aim for 5,000 units daily of vitamin D and iodine 12.5mg to support your thyroid function, zinc 30-60mg daily, and getting enough protein in your diet.
Consider finasteride or spironolactone pills, and ketoconazole shampoo for female-pattern thinning – these products specifically address the hormone receptors in the scalp. Additional supplements are Viviscal Professional and Glytone Anacaps – they nourish the hair and prolong the active growth phase. Complementary treatments include Ducray Neoptide Spray and Anaphase shampoo, and topical minoxidil to maintain healthy hair growth.
If you’d like to jump-start your hair growth, look into Platelet-Rich Plasma therapy – this involves injecting your own platelets into the scalp, which stimulates hair growth. Many patients no longer need to wear caps, wigs or weaves after treatment with PRP.